Coordinator of the Refugees and Displaced Persons Working Group in the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), Ahmad Baccora, has emphasized that the increasing deportations of Syrian refugees by Lebanese authorities pose a severe threat to their lives, exposing them to the risk of death. He underscores the urgent need to halt these deportations and adhere to international laws and norms that safeguard the rights of refugees.
Baccora highlighted the alarming numbers of the deportations of Syrian refugees from Lebanon to areas controlled by the Assad regime. He expressed deep concern about the fate of these refugees and questions the Lebanese authorities’ accountability for their well-being.
Baccora clarified that individuals who left Syria after 2011 should not be categorized as immigrants but rather as refugees under international law. This distinction applies to all members of the Syrian population, irrespective of their ethnic, religious, or geographical backgrounds, who were compelled to flee due to the conditions of war and the threat to their lives.
The SOC’s Coordinator criticized the United Nations for its failure to fulfill its role regarding Syrian refugees in Lebanon, deeming it a perilous neglect of responsibility. He emphasized the UN’s obligation to safeguard refugees and prevent their deportation to the Assad regime, which continues to commit crimes against civilians through bombings, arrests, and torture.
Baccora pointed out that, due to fear of reprisals by the Assad regime, many refugees refrain from disclosing the true reasons for leaving their homes and risking their lives to find a secure haven. This secrecy exposes them to the risk of not receiving international protection. He argues that the international community cannot absolve itself of its duties towards refugees by neglecting to inform them of international law, its intricacies, and the rights it bestows upon them.
He asserts that attempts to criminalize Syrian refugees and apply pressure or intimidation will not deter Syrians from seeking refuge, especially considering the ongoing crimes perpetrated by Assad. Baccora contended that these practices will not contribute to the repatriation of refugees; instead, he called for a resolution through the completion of the political process in accordance with UN Resolution 2254.
On Monday, the Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) issued an investigative report uncovering the details of the arbitrary arrests conducted by Lebanese authorities with the objective of forcibly deporting Syrian refugees in 2023. The report documents 1,080 instances of arbitrary arrests from the beginning of 2023 until December 30, with 763 refugees forcibly deported to Syria.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)